January 23, 2015
The Bonafiglia Family, Tom and Sam Vasile, and Eileen Gage Amongst the Top Honorees Named
Keynote Speaker ~ Richard Austin
Presented by: Five Star Bank
Happiness House/Finger Lakes United Cerebral Palsy, Inc. will hold its 12th Annual Gala Dinner & Auction Event on Friday, February 6th, 2015 at 6:00pm. Founding and Major Sponsor Belhurst Castle, in Geneva, will host the event which is presented by Five Star Bank, the underwriter of this event. Our Mistress of Ceremonies is Patrice Walsh 13 WHAM-TV, Rochester.
The “Happiness Is Helping” Humanitarian Award was created to recognize outstanding individuals who dedicate their time to advocate for and on behalf of people with developmental disabilities, and whose accomplishments are consistent with the mission and vision of Happiness House. This year’s award and our 8th recipient will be presented to The Bonafiglia Family of Seneca Falls.
“I came to Seneca Falls in 1947 to attend a wedding, and never returned home to Philadelphia. I loved it here.” Angelo Bonafiglia states. Bonafiglia and his wife, Agnes will be married for 65 years this April. They have three children, Andrea, Bruce and Curt and have three grandchildren, Daniele Bonafiglia Wirth, Erin Bonafiglia and Ben Bonafiglia.
In 1950 Bonafiglia started BonaDent Dental Laboratories and retired in 1986 turning the reins of the company over to his son, Bruce Bonafiglia. Over the years Angelo has watched the company grow under the direction of fourth generation family members Bruce Bonafiglia, President (with additional locations now in Melbourne, FL and Greenville, SC), Daniele Bonafiglia- Wirth, Vice President, and Erin Bonafiglia, Vice President of sister company Danaren Dental Labs. Andrea Bonafiglia recently retired as president of the Florida location. Curt has a PhD in Psychology and works in Atlanta, GA.
Community involvement and public service have been trademarks of the Bonafiglia family. They have been active in downtown redevelopment efforts in Seneca Falls. Bruce Bonafiglia established the not-for-profit Seneca Knitting Mill Development Corporation as a way to ensure important historic buildings are saved and utilized for the benefit of the community.
The Bonafiglia family is a special part of Happiness House’s family! Since 2008, BonaDent Dental Laboratories have been the underwriter and presenting sponsor of The Francis “Ben” Bonafiglia Happiness House Golf Tournament. Over the course of the Golf Tournaments history, BonaDent Dental Laboratories and the Vasile brothers, Sam and Tom have been inspirational in raising over $690,000.
The Bonafiglia’s are very supportive of Happiness House’s residential home for teens and young adults with developmental disabilities. Andrea Bonafiglia serves on the Happiness House Board of Directors. Past recipients of the “Happiness is Helping” Humanitarian Award are Charles T. Graham, Senator Michael F. Nozzolio Kevin W. Reeder, Mary Herlihy Gearan, B. Thomas Golisano, Nozomi Williams and Senate Minority Leader Brian Kolb.
Others special guests who will be honored include Tom and Sam Vasile, recipients of the Volunteer of the Year Award. Sam and Tom Vasile were co-owners of Finger Lakes Bottling Co., Inc. which was the annual Founding and Major Sponsor of The Francis “Ben” Bonafiglia Happiness House Golf Tournament for 28 years. In 2012, Sam and Tom sold their business.
Sam and Tom, sons of Sam and Mary (Pisciotti) Vasile, were born and raised in Auburn, New York with four brothers and sisters. At a very young age, when their father became ill and could not run the family business alone, they began learning the beverage (beer) business. The Vasiles’ passion in life is, of course, their family! Sam enjoys playing golf while his brother, Tom lives for Syracuse football and basketball. Sam and his wife, Renee have one child, Sammy Jr., and reside in Auburn, NY. Tom and his wife, Karen, have two children, Beth Ann and Tom Jr. and have three grandchildren, John, Ben and Gabriella.
The Vasile brothers state “The Happiness House staff are special people and they make sponsoring the annual golf tournament a joy, but the most important end result is what they do for the children, adults, and families in the community who will receive programs and services through their dedicated efforts.”
The “Outstanding Board Member of the Year” Award pays tribute to a board member who goes above and beyond their duties as a volunteer, and who holds true to our agency’s mission and vision. Our third award will be presented to Eileen Gage.
Gage has served as a dedicated volunteer on the Happiness House Board of Directors for 10 years and on the Foundation Board since 2011. Eileen served as Board Chair for two consecutive terms from 2011-2014, and it was on her watch that the plans for the Transition Apartments and Happiness House Apartment Housing Development Fund Company, Inc. came to fruition. Eileen has served on many committees including Long Range Planning, Personnel and Finance. Most recently she served as co-chair of the Synergy Committee working through the details of brining Happiness House and CP Rochester and Happiness House Foundation into a formal structure that ultimately will strengthen the mission of Happiness House and CP Rochester and offer opportunity to expand much needed services to consumers throughout the Finger Lakes and Greater Rochester areas.
She is the Vice President and Chief Nursing Officer for Finger Lakes Health. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing and a Masters in Organizational Management. Her commitment to nursing is the driving force behind her success with the Health System and her commitment to the care, education and service provided by Happiness House drives her support for the organization that changes lives forever. Eileen lives in Rushville with her husband Craig and they are the proud parents of three married children and the loving grandparents of six amazing grandchildren.
Our guest speaker for the evening’s event is Richard Austin. Richard and his wife, Katharine, have been involved with Happiness House on behalf of their daughter, Lillie who has been attending and receiving services since 2011. Rich and Katharine’s daughter, Lillie suffered a massive stroke at 9 months old, and as a result spent 3 weeks in the Pediatric ICU at Golisano Children’s Hospital.
Quickly learning how life would be different, the Austin family turned to Happiness House for care and guidance for Lillie in helping them adjust to their new lives. Now in her 3rd year at Happiness House, the joy Lillie experiences from school and therapy can never be measured; she loves all of her school mates, teachers, and therapists. Her schooling through the teachers at Happiness House, along with the Physical and Occupational Therapy have been a life changing experience, not only for her but also for Richard and Katharine.
Katharine has embraced staying home for now, spending each day with Lillie and her 2 year old sister Madison.
Richard Austin is one of the executive managers at Bill Cram Chevrolet. Active in the local community, Richard currently serves as Vice President of Geneva Rotary Club, as well as on the Board of Directors of The Smith Opera House and the Finger Lakes Ducks Unlimited Board. Richard has also served other local organizations such as The City of Geneva Republican Committee, Geneva Theater Guild, Phelps Clifton Springs Community Theater, Advisory Board for Finger Lakes Leadership, Geneva Athena, as well as Spotlight Independent Productions.
This event is made possible through the enthusiasm and support of our sponsors: Belhurst Castle, Founding and Major Sponsor; Five Star Bank, Underwriter; Major Sponsors: Harris Beach, PLLC, Relph Benefit Advisors, BonaDent Dental Laboratories and The Bonadio Group; Corporate Sponsors: Bill Cram Chevrolet, Finger Lakes Health, Guardian Industries, Lyons National Bank and Nationwide Retirement Plans; and Patron Sponsors: CP Rochester, Hobart Athletics, Massa Construction, Inc., Cayuga Lake National Bank, Cerebral Palsy Associations of New York State RIST Transport LTD. Div. of Wadhams Enterprises and MVP Healthcare; Table Sponsors: Canandaigua Financial Group, Usherwood Office Technology, Finger Lakes Medical Associates, Friends of Brian Kolb, Mark D. Gearan & Mary Herlihy Gearan, Seneca Meadows, Inc and E. Rowles Trading Company, LLC.
Distinguished guests include Happiness House Board and Foundation Board members, community leaders, and representatives from our sponsors. All proceeds from this event will be directed to the Happiness House Foundation to benefit Happiness House’s programs and services. Tickets are $125 per person or to inquire about available sponsorship packages please contact Cheryl Coppola at (585) 394-1190.
Happiness House- Finger Lakes Cerebral Palsy Association is a private nonprofit health and human service agency that has been serving communities in the Finger Lakes region in Upstate New York since 1969. Today with sites in Geneva, Canandaigua, Gorham, and Waterloo, Happiness House offers an array of educational program, recreational and family support services for children and adults with and without disabilities who reside in Ontario, Seneca, Wayne, and Yates counties. On average Happiness House serves 1,000 individuals and their families each year.
Cheryl L. Coppola